Carson City, NV – May 05, 2021
Today, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak provided an address to Nevadans regarding the State’s long-term economic recovery. The Governor’s remarks come on the heels of the 2021 Economic Forum, which determines revenue projections that the Nevada Legislature uses to craft budgets for the next biennium.
“Yesterday’s economic forum proved that our crisis management, strategic budgeting decisions, and most importantly—the shared sacrifices of every Nevadan in the last 14 months—has resulted in the State having $586.2 million more than we thought we would have when we first created this budget in December,” the Governor said.
A link to the video recording can be found here: Governor Sisolak addresses Nevadans after Economic Forum.
A full copy of the Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Good morning – thank you all for being here.
I wanted to take some time to speak directly to Nevadans after yesterday’s Economic Forum, which determines revenue projections that the legislature can use to finalize the state budget for the next biennium – and Nevada, I’m excited to say that after a long year fighting this historic crisis, I have good news to deliver today.
In the last 14 months, we’ve taken action to strike a balance between protecting public health and also protecting our fragile economy. Thanks to the quick response by State and federal leaders to soften the effects of a nationwide shutdown and because of the sacrifices made by all Nevadans, our fiscal situation has greatly improved.
Across the State, we worked together to find creative and smart solutions and contribute to the promising outcomes we heard at yesterday’s Economic Forum. The increase in revenue projections announced yesterday along with the funding the State will be receiving from the American Rescue Plan will put us in a better position to begin stabilizing the State’s fiscal situation, restoring critical services, and getting assistance to Nevadans most in need.
But we didn’t get to where we are today without weathering an incredibly difficult year.
When we joined states across the country to issue a stay at home order in an attempt to save lives and prevent the overwhelming of our hospital system – many Nevadans were forced out of their jobs through no fault of their own. Businesses – both small and large – suffered.
Because of Nevada’s limited economic structure, this crisis hit our State worse than any other, and just like so many Nevada families, the State’s budget took a dramatic turn due to the pandemic.
That’s why, in the summer, I had to convene a special session of the Nevada Legislature to close a $1.2 billion budget shortfall, which included depleting the State’s savings account, called the Rainy Day Fund, in an effort to continue providing critical services.
But there’s no doubt about it – the State’s ability to provide services during this time of need was made more difficult because of the dramatic loss in revenue.
And in December, when the state was putting together the draft budget for the upcoming two years, we again were forced to propose tough reductions to an already strained budget. And again, we did everything we could with what we had to prioritize resources and services for Nevadans.
But every difficult decision was rooted in a long-term strategy for economic recovery which has led us to where we are today.
While we were dealing with a constantly evolving situation, we took prudent and responsible fiscal measures to ensure our budgets stayed balanced and that we focused on serving Nevadans.
The stakes were high and the decisions were tough, but I knew that eventually the day would come where I could say to my fellow Nevadans that that method has paid off. And Nevada, that day is today.
Yesterday’s economic forum proved that our crisis management, strategic budgeting decisions, and most importantly—the shared sacrifices of every Nevadan in the last 14 months-- has resulted in the State having $586.2 million more than we thought we would have when we first created this budget in December.
Members of the economic forum – many of whom jokingly say they often deliver “doom and gloom” news – announced that they are feeling confident about Nevada’s economic recovery.
In addition to the unbelievable increase in projected revenue, state economists also highlighted other signals of our economic recovery, including crediting the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine as one of the driving factors to cause consumer confidence to jump to a 14-month high.
The projected increase in revenue for the state is a signal of the start of our comeback, and it’s no accident.
We are on track to have all the capacity and economic restrictions in the State lifted by June 1. A full reopening our of economic sector is less than a month away. Many conventions have announced their plans to return and our businesses are coming back.
But while we celebrate this moment, we can’t allow ourselves to forget the struggles we faced in the last 14 months. And that’s what I want to talk about now – how we move forward knowing what we know today.
We’ve been at this point before – where we are slowly exiting a crisis and beginning to see the light ahead. And what we’ve learned from the past is that the decisions we make now will determine how prepared we are for the next challenge – how fiscally stable our State is – how much we can prevent future generations from having to face the tough decisions we had to make in the last year.
So as we plan how to utilize the new funding available to our State from increased revenue projections and federal funding, we must remember that spending is easy, investing is hard – but investing in Nevadans will always be worth it.
Nevada, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to utilize the funding we have to transform our State – but it will require us to break the patterns of the past.
And that’s what I want to commit to Nevadans here in this moment – I am committed to changing our systemic issues that make Nevada the hardest hit State in the nation when there’s an economic downturn.
So I’m asking leaders to take the approach of responsible families throughout the state who are also making their comeback right now – the many Nevadans who got their jobs back and for the first time in a while, are taking home a paycheck to their families. I’m asking that we take thoughtful approaches with our funding the same way these families are.
Families are using their paychecks to pay off their credit cards, put some money aside, and invest in repairs they had to delay over the last year. They are stabilizing their financial situations to get back to normal.
We need to take the same approach -- we need to refill our savings account, pay off our debts, and restore the difficult cuts that we suffered in areas like mental health and education. We need to bring our State back to a baseline. And we also need to fix what’s broken by investing in new systems -- including the one at DETR.
And as we use these funds to stabilize our state’s fiscal situation in the immediate, we then need to ensure our recovery process brings along every Nevadan, especially those who have been the most negatively impacted by this pandemic. Yesterday’s Economic Forum report showed us that those in our State who make the most were impacted the least, and those who make the least were impacted the most.
We will not recover if we do not use these funds to build a State that gives them every opportunity to succeed – expanding childcare, helping small businesses, investing in community-based services.
There is no doubt Nevadans are resilient -- which has been proven repeatedly throughout the ups and downs of our State’s history. When you’re the state that’s usually the hardest hit in a crisis, the people have no choice but to become resilient.
But I know Nevadans are probably tired of having to be so resilient all the time. That’s why I want to make our State more resilient so our residents don’t have to be.
Before I close this address, I want to take a moment to talk to about our COVID-19 vaccine rollout. As I’ve mentioned, the speed and efficiency of the vaccine rollout was a key factor in the positive economic forecast announced yesterday.
As today, more than 45 percent of eligible Nevadans have initiated vaccination and more than one-third of eligible Nevadans are fully vaccinated.
I want to encourage all Nevadans who may not have yet chosen to get their COVID-19 vaccine to consider speaking to their pharmacist or physician if you still have questions. Nevadans can also visit NVCOVIDFighter.org to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and to schedule an appointment.
Vaccination doesn't just protect you from COVID-19 as an individual. It also protects the people around you. When you're fully vaccinated, you're much less likely to get infected and much less likely to spread the virus.
Increasing the number of Nevadans who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will help reduce the potential for more Nevadans to get sick and die. Every shot in an arm puts us one step closer on our path to full recovery.
Thank you for your time today – as always, I am so grateful to be your Governor and I look forward to the challenges ahead to make sure we set Nevada up for success for generations to come.